TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Senate passed a controversial bill on Tuesday that, if signed into law, would prohibit the state’s primary schools from holding “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity.” Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents, the legislation will now head to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it into law after having shown support for it in the recent past.
The Republican-backed Parental Rights in Education bill was previously passed by the state House of Representatives last month before heading to the state Senate on Tuesday, where it passed along party lines.
The legislation would ban any “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” and would apply to kindergarten through third grade, reports say. It would also forbid teachers creating lesson plans “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
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If violations of this law are alleged, parents would have the right to file a lawsuit against the offending school district.
Opponents of the Parental Rights in Education bill contend that it is discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, including state Senator Annette Taddeo (D).
“This is going to endanger the safety of our LGBTQ students and adolescents,” she said Tuesday. “We will not stop until this state moves forward and actually values everyone in it, everyone no matter their sexual orientation.”
However, supporters of the bill claim that it allows parents to have a say over what they children are exposed to in the classroom while entrusting them to their teacher’s daily care, with state Senator Danny Burgess (R) stating on Tuesday that it protects parents’ rights.
“This bill says parents your right to raise your children does not end when they walk into a classroom. This bill recognizes that parents are not the enemy,” he said. “The bill simply says that there should be an age limit on certain discussions, it’s not a new concept, nor is it radical.”
The bill will go into effect July 1, 2022, provided that DeSantis signs it into law.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo in this story was changed shortly after publication as a reader suggested it did not reflect the correct aged children in the classroom. #Accuracy